Tuesday, 18 December 2018

In darkest December

Before I go ahead and tell you about what I've been doing and, more specifically, what I've been wearing since my last non-travel post, I would like to put something right.

When I posted this collage a while ago, based on the Kitsch Deluxe book I found at the charity shop, and mentioned that there were some impostors, both Monica and Vix immediately noticed the obvious ones: the plaster Mary's and the kitchenalia. However, there was a third one:

This jumble of odds and ends is to be found in a small display cabinet in our dining room. Apart from several kitschy deer ornaments, a pair of 1930s cat bookends and a tiny, magnetic pair of Scottie dogs live on the top shelf, while the lower shelf houses, amongst other things, a slightly battered Spanish fan, a set of Art Nouveau salt and pepper shakers and a threesome of stone doves which we bought not long after we moved into Dove Cottage.

It rained heavily and almost incessantly in the week before last. 

As if the general lack of daylight and the fact that I'm leaving the house when it's still dark and returning after the sun has set again isn't enough of a hurdle for taking outfit photos! 

We try to avoid taking indoor photos to show you my outfits, as they usually aren't even remotely flattering, so we have to be creative and take any opportunity that comes our way.

This is what I was wearing on Friday before last. I started the weekend early by taking Friday afternoon off, so I was home when there was still a modicum of daylight.

We waited for the rain to let up, even if only for a couple of minutes, but it never did. In the end, we went out in the garden using an umbrella, which as a plus  - being a purple one - added even more colour to my outfit.

There's nothing new here. The dress is an old Think Twice find that's been with me for years, but which for some unfathomable reason I hadn't worn in quite a while.  Its diagonal stripes, in various shades of blue, were counterbalanced by the horizontal red, ochre, pink and purple stripes of my cardigan. Originally from H&M, this was a charity shop find. 

The multicoloured wooden beads were also charity shopped, while the brooch was a flea market find, as were the boots.

The only things not new-to-me were the blue plastic ring and the red opaques.

And then it was Saturday, and what a miserable day it was, its greyness and wetness inescapable.
Through rain-blurred windows, we watched the unnatural darkness of early afternoon, until we couldn't bear it any longer and decided to brave the steady downpour for a trip to the charity shop.

Hurray for the whitewashed brick wall and skylight in the garage where we park our car. Such a pity it isn't closer to our house, as it's the perfect place for outfit photos, whatever the weather!

When I got dressed that morning, I was determined to wear this Paisley patterned Diolen blouse and, looking for a perfect companion, I happened upon this blue and rust plaid skirt. I'd forgotten it had pockets!

I pinned a blue-rimmed flower brooch to it and added a pale blue beaded necklace. At my waist, you might recognize the snakeskin belt, a recent flea market find. I thought it made a nice contrast with the Paisley and the plaid.

If you half-close your eyes, the pattern of my charity shopped blue cardigan is reminiscent of houndstooth. Its shades of blue pick up the blue in my skirt, opaques and beret.

My Made in Berlin wool jacket went on top. I love the flash of blue provided by my cardi's cuffs peeking out from under the jacket's sleeves.

The colour blue is repeated again in the carved plastic brooch and my ring, both of which also contain red, which in turn I matched by wearing a red scarf. 

I love how this outfit simply evolved, without any forward planning. And it all started with the blouse!

We drove down to a charity shop a bit further away, which we hadn't been to in months as our last visit was a bitter disappointment. At that time, we were faced with half empty shelves and clothing rails still full of last Summer's leftovers.

It was a relief to see that whatever had been going on then had now been sorted and the shelves and rails were once again fully stocked.

A rummage in the accessory boxes yielded five belts for the princely sum of € 1 each.

After taking an armful of clothes into the fitting rooms, I ended up with these two cardigans, a chunky mustard one closing with a zipper, and a fuchsia textured one trimmed with lurex.

I also bought this skirt, which I pounced upon immediately since I already own a jacket in an almost identical pinkish Tweed. Incidentally, this jacket was bought in the same shop many years ago.

It's a real wardrobe staple (see here for my last wearing of it) and I think the skirt will be as well.

Rather than having Angelica do the honours, I thought I'd play dress-up and show you the accidental suit myself, accessorized with turquoise details. 

We did this little photo session on Monday. I'd taken the day off and as luck would have it, we had a brief respite from the stormy weather, even though it was raining again by mid afternoon.

There's still a surprising amount of green in our garden this late in the season, some of it provided by evergreens such as our rampant ivy and the foliage of winter flowering Clematis armandii growing through our lilac bush in the background. The small yellow flowers belong to Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), whose bendy flowering shoots have been embellishing our garden wall for many a year, and which it seems to be doing especially prolifically this year.

Speaking of green, Jos was more than happy to model his new-to-him coat for you!

It's an original Alpen Loden which used to belong to my Dad and which was still rattling around in his wardrobe. We happened upon it while we were having another clearing session at my parental home.

As it was in perfect condition, as well as a perfect fit for Jos, it was a keeper.

My outfit also featured a fair bit of green, starting with my beloved fake fur collared jacket. I added a mustard beret and a pair of deadstock vintage gloves, part of a lot I bought several years ago.

While running an errand in town, I finally managed to make some photographs of the delightful front garden of the local vicarage (for want of a better word), which was planted earlier this year.

Seeing all those flowers still going strong makes it hard to believe that we're actually in December! 

I'm leaving you with a glimpse of what else I was wearing that day.  

In spite of its flaws (it's got a  broken zipper pull and a visible hemline), this burnt orange and green dress is still making regular appearances. 

This time I accessorized it with a green belt, leopard strap watch, multi-coloured stone brooch, green plastic ring and orange "berry" necklace, which actually snapped later that day, leaving me with handfuls of tiny beads. 

Oh, and first wearing of these green zig zag tights, a sales bargain from last Winter.

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. 


  1. I'm loving the sound of an accidental suit! it looks lovely on you and pink tweed no less!

    Jos looks very stylish in your dad's over coat - what a great fit.

    All your outfits are gorgeous but my favourite is the skirt, paisley blouse and blue check (?) cardigan. Fabulous.

    Sorry to hear the lovely beads from the other outfit broke. Don't you just hate it when that happens? With me it's usually because I've dropped the necklace on the floor.

    I hope your lousy weather improves - we can only expect cold at this time of year but a bit of light isn't too much to ask!

    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

    1. Thank you Veronica. I can tell you Jos was really chuffed with your comment. You wouldn't believe the number of broken necklaces I've had. It usually happens when I'm taking them off, or if they get caught up in the fabric of what I'm wearing. It happened in the middle of the street once ... xxx

  2. What a delight that you found basically the matching jacket for the suit. It always amazes me when stuff like that happens when shopping secondhand.

    I think it is wonderful that Jos can wear your Dad's coat. All the memories saved and savoured again. The colour is gorgeous.

    My favourite combo of yours this week is that teal combined with the mustard/yellow. Such a lovely and unexpected colour combination for winter.


    1. Thank you Suzanne. I always love your fabulous outfits, which makes me appreciate your comment even more! xxx

  3. Fancy finding a perfect match for the pink jacket, that's serendipity in action!
    The weather here is so dreary and although I've chopped lots of greenery, I've had to add a few bought flowers to the vase, there are no flowers left in the garden. The vicarage garden looks wonderful, yours too.
    I love the last dress you're wearing in burnt orange and green, it looks fab. xxx

    1. Thank you Sally! I haven't walked past the vicarage garden in the meantime, I'm wondering what it's like now that we had some frost ... xxx

  4. You look stunning in your accidental pink suit, Ann! A similar story happened to me once - I found two tea-cup-and-saucer pairs from the same set (made in USSR) in the same antique mall within a year or so. Isn't it a wonder?

    So many pretty things to mention! I love the rust/green wool jacket and the wonderfully playful pattern mixes, the green zigzag tights, and your belts and berets in every possible color! And Jos looks so elegant in your Dad's coat!

    This time of year is very tricky to take outfit photos, I hear you! Getting dark so early plus all this rain... but it's still fun, because when you get an opportunity, pictures are even more precious!

    Warmest hugs, my dear!

    1. Thank you Natalia! That's true serendipity! There's a slight difference between the two fabrics, but it's only noticeable when you're looking very closely ... xxx

  5. I am liking those zigzag tights, but I actually said, "YES!" out loud when I saw that pink suit with the turquoise - be still my heart! Ann, I would rip that outfit right off you and wear it! And how funny that you found the matching (or almost!) skirt to your jacket! It really is gorgeous.

    It's pouring so hard right now here that I can hear it on the roof and through the double-paned windows. Rivers run down the streets.

    Love all your outfits - your attention to detail pleases me greatly. Big thumbs up to your dad's coat on Jos. Aw!

    1. I had a feeling you would love the pink and turquoise outfit, Sheila ;-) We've had quite a bit of rain too, but it has been dry and sunny over the holidays ... xxx

  6. That's exciting that you were able to complete a suit-and at the same shop too. Those belts are really great. Someday you must show us how you store them all (mine are a mess).

    1. My belt storage is a nightmare. I've tried clear plastic boxes, and a suitcase, but still haven't come up with the perfect solution, which allows me to choose a belt with ease ... xxx

  7. the pink suit is a stunner on you!!
    also love the outfit of paisley & tweed...... i do look after a golden belt since ages (2.hand of cause) - but never can find one it seems.
    jos looks very dapper in his lodenmantel!
    tons of hugs! xxxxx

    1. Thank you Beate! I'd also been on the lookout for a golden for ages. The only ones I found before this one were flimsy and cheaply made ones ... I jumped for joy when I saw this one! xxx

  8. So much to love again, Ann! Your print mixing is amazing and the colour combinations are fabulous! I love the red tights and the green zig zag ones! The cardigans you're wearing are fabulous, as are the ones that you just bought! Hope you're having a great week so far, Ann! ;) XXX

    1. Thank you so much, Sasha! I sometimes surprise myself with the print mixing. I've become more adventurous since I started blogging ... xxx

  9. I feel your pain about taking photos Ann! This is the worst time for us bloggers. The pinks suit looks amazing on and you will create many great looks with the two items I'm sure.
    Have a wonderful Christmas lovely lady xx

    1. Thank you so much, Laurie! Hope you had a great Christmas. How time flies ... xxx

  10. I love that tweed suit! Fabulous. I learned last September, from Penny in Brighton, that if you want to buy things from charity shops you have to shop in a ,,rich,, town. Never thought of that!

    1. Thank you Nancy! I'm sure Penny knows where to shop. However, strangely enough, I do find my best things in poorer towns. Also, "rich" towns tend to be more expensive. I guess it depends on what you're looking for, too. xxx

  11. This season isn't the blogger's friend!
    You were very wise to use your free time to take a few outfit photos so we can admire them in all their glory.
    The almost-suit is incredible, I love the mega paisley shirt and all your jewel-coloured pieces are gorgeous especially the amethyst boots, jade tights and amber dress!
    Jon says he loves your dad's coat on Jos and I agree! xxx

    1. Jos says thank you to Jon! The mega Paisley shirt is quite a recent find. It looks almost new. I'd forgotten about the jade zig-zag tights ... xxx

  12. Ahh I love your pinkish tweed :) .. so amazing!
    A am a great fan of your broochs and necklaces. You choose it so well Ann.
    The weather was grey the whole day, uah...nevertheless we take pictures for friday post ;)
    A very huge hug, Tina

    1. Thank you so much, Tina! We've had some decent weather these last few days and took a lot of photos! We have to be prepared ;-) xxx

  13. I share your attraction to kitsch. And I agree outdoor photos are better. That's a problem for me 'cause I don't want to scare the neighbors here and I have limited opportunity to do photoshoots away from home. Hoping to fix that. Happy holidays, buddy!

    1. Such a pity that have limited photo opportunities away from home ... I really feel for you. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you'll be able to fix that. xxx

  14. Yes we are having the same incessant rain. It is a bit depressing. I do love all of these beautiful outfits. My favorite, of course, is the outfit with the checks, Paisley, and plaid. So well mixed!
    The mixed plaid and pink tweed dress is beautiful too. I do love your taste in clothing and assessories.
    I do agree that it can be challenging to get good indoor photos and with so much outside rain I do find photo shoots quite limiting.
    Love this post!

    1. Thank you so much, Elle! You're such a fabulous dresser, so I'm doubly chuffed when you love my taste in clothing. We'll have to grab any photo opportunity this time of year, I guess ... xxx

  15. Wow wow wow to all your outfits and that chunky mustard zip up is one for my pile please.
    I hope poor Jos didn’t get wet while you held the brolly. He is good with the camera isn’t he. I’m going to have to get the welder trained up.
    We are sending our love to you both and hope you have a peaceful and happy Christmas and new year xxxx

    1. Chunky mustard zip added to your pile! Do rest assured that Jos didn't get wet. We have a little glass awning outside our back door :-))) xxx